Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine

Okay here’s the deal: This is now the fifth time I’ve sat down to write this. It’s proving to be very difficult.

You see, the plan was for the TKF staff to write about different aspects of Padres coverage going in to the season. Since I’ve spent the last year covering the radio side of things I was asked to dissect the dial once again.

Simple enough, right? Wrong.

It all keeps coming back to this abomination of a station (trademarked) called 97.3 The Machine, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I am not a fan.

And, as a writer I’m supposed to try and stay impartial about these things. I’m supposed to give you a fair breakdown about the radio landscape and what we should expect. But, The Machine? Oh, screw that.

I’m a blogger. I’m a podcaster. I got into blogging and podcasting because sports radio never appealed to me. The slick stingers, the Van Halen segways, the “comedic banter”. It was all fairly shitty and trite. I wanted more, but instead of waiting around for it, in 2006 I tried to go out and create it.

I may have failed. Time will tell. Or maybe it has. I don’t know. But, if I have failed and I’m tone deaf to it then I’d fit right in at The Machine where it seems that being tone deaf to everything around them is the business plan.

So, I don’t care about writing impartially or trying to present an angle both sides could relate to, I’m just frustrated.

I’m frustrated that an entire group of radio execs in a lousy last gasp of survival tried to once again prove to an evolving nation that they have the right answer and that the rest of the world is too PC.

I’m frustrated that there are still radio execs who actually thought this idea would work.

I’m frustrated that anyone listens. True most of them look like retired PE coaches, but still, the fact that anyone listens to this garbage fire of a Frankenstein experiment at all is offensive to me and my understanding of decency.

I’m frustrated that they’ll see this criticism as a win. They know it’s not a win, but they’ll spin it and sell it that the hate is a net positive because it proves people are paying attention and listening. Well, for this piece I decided to listen to The Machine for five minutes. It was Dan Sileo talking to a woman about the Olympic sexual assault scandal involving American athletes. He actually handled the interview quite well. I was impressed. Then I got on twitter and saw that the radio station had tweeted out a dildo joke.

Stay classy.

It’s not just that I dislike Dan Sileo, who he is, what he tries to be, and what he thinks he is. It’s not just that I dislike the entire idea of a radio station appealing to men, and claiming to understand what real men like. Cause if real men like The Machine then I’m a little girly snowflake and I couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s not even that I dislike the doubling down of ignorance by several radio execs with complete disregard for the cultural temperature of the world around them and decided it would be an awesome idea to vomit out a radio station in San Diego dedicated to talk that rocks, or talk and rock, or whatever the hell their MS Paint logo says.

I could and do ignore all this. Because it sucks. It’s the worst form of entertainment on a dying platform.

What I do dislike and what makes me more frustrated than anything is that this toilet bowl now houses the radio broadcast of Padres games.

This after last years failed experiment of placing Padres games on fellow Entercom station FM94/9 – a radio station I used to work at as a DJ.

In full disclosure I was interviewed for a job at Padres Radio last year. I didn’t get that job but I ended up co-hosting an extremely short-lived podcast with Padres Radio boss Rich Herrera. Rich immediately made a rough impression on locals, and many started to decline my invitation to come on the podcast. I couldn’t blame them, and quickly wondered why I was doing any kind of leg work for free for a podcast no one seemed to like. To top it off no one in town could figure out why Rich, a lifelong Giants fan, was hired for a Padres gig despite several locals with just as much if not more experience. I decided to walk away and no one even asked if I was coming back.

Padres Radio was headed in a certain direction, and The Captain of that ship sailed into 97.3 The Machine.

In addition to all this The Machine also features a syndicated show called “The Mens Room”, and the Kevin Klein Show in the mornings. All I know about Klein is that his humor is similar to Sileo’s and he is a standup comic turned radio DJ, which means he is a failed standup comic. This is the killer lineup The Machine is unleashing on San Diego in hopes of cornering the mens market for their particular brand of crass humor that somehow makes Barstool look sympathetic towards the #MeToo movement.

I’m frustrated that I can’t listen to Padres broadcasts anymore. I can’t support this station. I can’t sit there and move the dial to a place where I feel in my gut that something wrong is happening. Not in the moral sense per se, but in the literal sense. It’s wrong. It’s incorrect. It’s literally looking at everything happening in the world and in the radio industry and ignoring it. Hoping the cancer will just blow over. It’s idiotic.

It’s a fundamentally dangerous move for the Padres and their brand.

The Padres, and Baseball in general, prides itself on being family entertainment. Sure, it takes a slight lean towards the male side of the equation, but it pushes and pursues an inclusive attitude. For the Padres to be aligning with a product focused on making people feel uncomfortable and less than is just plain strange. Do they not care? Do they not listen? Do they love it? I can’t imagine Uncle Teddy enjoys following Dan Sileo and his fratboy sidekick get in depth about their love for hard drugs. But, what do I know? I’m just a forward-thinking citizen. I can’t imagine most families will be delighted or even intrigued with the content outside of Padres games on The Machine, and if the official position from Entercom brass is that the two entities are separate but on the same dial then why did they leave FM94/9? If I was a Padres executive I’d be more worried with what young Padres fans might hear on the station airing my organizations games than they seem to be. Huh. Sez me.

Lastly, what makes me feel defeated about the future of radio and the lack of social awareness or norms is that they think what they’re doing is cool. They think it’s hardcore. They’re the same people who think Fall Out Boy is punk rock. They think what they’re doing represents an underground ethos that is ‘just too insane for you to handle’.

They aren’t hardcore they’re just assholes.

If someone is offended by your “comedy” or your “brand” that doesn’t mean they’re triggered, it means you’re lazy.

I’m frustrated that this is the best radio execs can come up with and if it is then maybe it is time for radio to blow up and give birth to something new. Cause at this point a screaming newborn sounds a lot better than any thing on 97.3 The Machine.

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc

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Written By :

Dallas McLaughlin is a writer and performer for the Emmy-winning Yo! Gabba Gabba! and The Aquabats! Super Show! He's also worked as a consultant for Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon, and Fox Sports. A diehard San Diego sports fan, Dallas has written passionately against the DH and in favor of Padre Brown for SI.com, The Sports Minute, Fox Sports, Voice of San Diego, San Diego Magazine, and is one of the founding members of The Kept Faith. A professional standup comedian who's performed with Norm McDonald, Chris Hardwick, Dave Attell, Jeff Garlin, and many more. He recently won San Diego's Funniest Person Contest, and has been featured on FoxRox, Tonight in San Diego, and was a DJ on FM94/9 for over seven years. Dallas has spent over two decades on stage as an actor, award-winning playwright and director. In his spare time, Dallas likes to eat burritos, drink beer, and talk to his wife about her dislike for Harry Connick, Jr.

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